18-Month-Old Dies After Being Left in Car Overnight

Florida parents are charged with aggravated manslaughter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2023 5:10 PM CDT
18-Month-Old Dies After Being Left in Car Overnight
Stock photo   (Getty: beright)

A toddler died after her parents left her in a hot car overnight following a Fourth of July party in Florida, authorities said Thursday. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Lakeland couple Joel and Jazmine Rondon have been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Authorities said the Rondons accidentally left the 18-month-old girl in her car seat while they removed their two other children and unloaded their vehicle after arriving home from the Independence Day celebration. Joel Rondon discovered his toddler unresponsive in the car the following morning, the AP reports. She was declared dead at a hospital.

The couple submitted to drug tests, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Joel Rondon tested positive for methamphetamines, marijuana, and alcohol; officials said; his wife was positive for marijuana and alcohol. An autopsy ruled the toddler's cause of death was hyperthermia. The couple was arrested Thursday. It was not immediately clear if the Rondons, both 33, have hired an attorney who could comment on the allegations. "This rips your heart out," said Sheriff Grady Judd, per WTVT, adding, "This child from 3am until she was discovered was harnessed and could not get away from this."

(More Florida stories.)

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